City Season – The Rain, 23/7
The Delhi walla‘s pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls – Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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One afternoon in Delhi.
[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]
It was over in half an hour. In the late afternoon of July 23rd, 2009, clouds suddenly gathered over the Delhi sky, a dust storm followed, trees fell and then a furious downpour drenched almost the entire city, which had been reeling under a dry spell due to a disappointing monsoon season.
Ms Marina Bang, a South African national who spends her hours writing a book at her rented bungalow in Jor Bagh, was pleasantly surprised. She and her two friends immediately decided to take a walk in the Lodhi Garden, just across the road. Since they had only one torn umbrella, they all ended up wet. “But we had to enjoy the monsoon,” exclaimed Ms Bang. “It was exhilarating.” The entire party later gathered at Ms Bang’s book-lined living room for tea and home-made chocolate mousse.
When the Jor Bagh author was taking her rain walk in Lodhi Garden, fashion stylist Mr Rishi Raj was running into the shelter of an ancient mansion in Old Delhi. He was busy in the shoot of an advertisement campaign for an NGO in Chawri Bazaar. Just before the D-moment, the entire team was outside a haveli with a turquoise-blue wall and an ornately carved wooden entrance door. That door was the backdrop of a sequence where a “convent-educated kid was teaching lessons to slum children.” Just then the storm began, the wind howled, the rain started. The shooting was called off and Mr Raj ran in.
“I found myself in this stunning courtyard where an old woman, safely ensconced on a dry spot, was watching the rain falling,” recalled the stylist. “The place was all misty, the water was coming to me in sprays and it was just so beautiful.”
A little later, Mr Raj went out and was back in the chaotic Chawri Bazaar with its zig-zaggy electric wires, its noise, and there were the children dancing in the rain. “Then I saw a girl in the balcony of another haveli,” Mr Raj added. “She was in this worn-to-death off-white grayish kurta with her back against a pillar and though I’m gay, I thought it quite erotic.”
Mr Raj was naturally dressed stylishly – pale pink Iggy Pop T-shirt, Benetton jeans, Ashish Soni chappals. All got soaked. “The monsoon in Old Delhi is something else,” Mr Raj swooned. “I’ve never felt this kinda wetness seeping into the soul ever before.”
While the stylist’s soul was getting stirred up, Mr David Boyk, a student of UC Berkeley, California, in town to research on urban migration, almost missed the rain. He was in the underground metro train, somewhere between Mandi House and Chandni Chowk, on way to Hardayal Municipal Library. “I was earlier at Sahitya Akademy looking for a Bengali book called Kalkatta Rahasya published in 1925,” said Mr Boyk. A non-practicing Jew, he speaks Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, English; also a little Spanish, German and Latin.
Walking to the Mandi House metro station, Mr Boyk did spot some clouds in the distance but thought nothing of them. “However, when I reached the Chandni Chowk stop,” he said, “I moticed a long line of people on the stairs.” Waiting for the showers to slow down, a young man approached Mr Boyk for an assistance of Rs 100. The research scholar obliged and then walked out, hopping through puddles, before stopping by a street-side food stall to have dahi bhallas.
As Mr Boyk feasted on Chandni Chowk’s chaat, Ms Anamika Chatterjee, a media professional recovering from a 19-hour-long work shift, was getting drenched on the terrace of her two-room flat in Paschim Vihar. She had no choice. As soon as the rain started, the power went off. Since her inverter, too, was out of order, the fans were not working, making the indoor feel hot and humid. “I’d no option but to go out and enjoy the rain,” Ms Chatterjee said. “If there was power, I would had sat inside and listened to the sound of the rain instead.”
Even as all these people were sportingly braving the elements, Ms Vasantha Angamuthu, who holds a prestigious post in a prestigious Connaught Place skyscraper, was busy working at her first floor office room. The shutters were drawn against the windows. When The Delhi Walla asked about the rain, she cried, “It rained! When?”
When it rained
When it rained
When it rained